A major feature of Wii is the console's wireless controller, the Wii Remote, that may be used as a handheld pointing device and can detect motion and rotation in three dimensions. The controller also contains a speaker and a rumble device to provide sensory feedback, and can be used to turn Wii on and off. The console also features a stand-by mode entitled WiiConnect24, enabling it to receive messages and updates over the Internet while consuming very little electrical power.
Nintendo unveiled the system under the code name Revolution in 2005 at its E3 press conference. Satoru Iwata, Nintendo's President, revealed a prototype of the system's game controller at the 2005 Tokyo Game Show during his keynote speech in September 2005.2 For E3 2006, Wii won the Game Critics Awards for Best of Show and Best Hardware.3 Wii is set to be released on November 19, 2006 in North America, December 2, 2006 in Japan, December 7, 2006 in Australia and New Zealand, and December 8, 2006 in Europe.
On September 14, 2006 and September 15, 2006, Nintendo announced release information for Japan, North and Latin America, Australia & Europe, including dates and prices. The information can be seen in the table below.
At a June 7, 2006 policy briefing, Nintendo revealed that it intends to release 6 million console units and 17 million software units during the fiscal year ending March 31, 2007 and 4 million or more console units by the end of the 2006 calendar year.1 On September 14, 2006, it was announced that the majority of the 2006 shipments will be allotted to the Americas.4
Nintendo of Canada vice president and general manager Ron Bertram stated that the company expects a million consoles for North America at launch,5 information picked up by IGN on September 25, 2006.6 The next day, Nintendo branded the information as a "misstatement about the number of Wii consoles that will be available in the Americas during the launch rollout," and reiterated earlier statements of expected sales of 4 million consoles worldwide by the end of 2006 with the largest allotment available in the Americas. The company affirmed that they "are working to ensure a plentiful supply and a consistent flow."7
Despite the price point of US$60 quoted for many seventh generation games,8 Satoru Iwata said that it is unlikely that first-party games would cost more than US$50 (GBP£34 - £39). 9
The console was known by the codename of "Revolution" until immediately prior to E3 2006. Nintendo spells "Wii" with two "i"s to imply an image of players gathering together, as well as to represent the console's controllers. Nintendo has given many reasons for its choice of name since its announcement; however, the most well known is:
Wii sounds like 'we', which emphasizes that the console is for everyone. Wii can easily be remembered by people around the world, no matter what language they speak. No confusion. No need to abbreviate. Just Wii.17
According to the Nintendo Style Guide: A Guide to the Proper Usage of Some of Nintendo's Products:
It is simply Wii, not Nintendo Wii. It is pronounced "we", indicating its all-inclusive nature. The name works best at the beginning of declarative statements. For clarity, it is best to avoid passive verbs and prepositions.17
Despite Nintendo's justification for the name, many members of the press, online communities and even game developers18 reacted negatively to the name change. Some have expressed "fear that the name would convey a continued sense of 'kidiness' sic to the console"19, "wish Nintendo had stuck with 'Revolution'"20, or even made fun of the name for its phonetic similarities to words in English and French. Still, Nintendo defends its choice of Wii over Revolution, and suggests to that those who dislike the name to "live with it, sleep with it, eat with it, move along with it"21.
Wii can change the world.